Let me start with a rule I want you to remember. Don’t do butterfly wrong! This common-sense rule is violated on a daily basis in the sport. Many swimmers can do butterfly correctly for a limited amount of time. For some that is three strokes, for others it’s 25 or 50 yards. For a few it is thousands of yards. If you are one of the few swimmers who can do butterfly correctly for thousands of yards you can stop reading this post. For the rest of you keep reading for a concept critical to your improvement.
If you can only do three strokes in a row of correct butterfly then that is all I want you to do. So, for example if you are doing a set of 100 IMs or 50s fly, push off the wall, do your three strokes then drop to butterfly drill for the remainder of the length. Then start the next length with butterfly and do another three strokes (or whatever your number is) I personally like my swimmers to do one arm butterfly, but sometimes they need to do some freestyle to make the interval.
After some period of time, usually two weeks, longer if you don’t swim regularly, I have the swimmer add one more stroke of butterfly. Two weeks later add one more. Keep building your endurance until you are able to do the full distance the set requires.
As you work up don’t worry if you have bad days that are not as good as you want and you need to do less strokes then your goal. We all have bad days.
Can’t do three strokes of fly correctly? Well, let me be honest. That probably means you have not been able to master the basic skills involved in fly and need help from a coach on what you are doing wrong.
Next time: To flip or not to flip, that is the question for open water swimmers.